Action games have evolved a lot over the years. It used to be that they were synonymous with 2D platformers back with the 8-bit days. Then they were the same as beat 'em ups in the 16-bit days. Now when we think of action games we think of 3D action games, which is why we're doing a list of the 10 Best 3D Action Games. Travel through level after level, solve a few puzzles, and kill a whole lot of peons on the way to an absolutely massive boss fight that ends with a quick time event. So let’s look at the 10 Best 3D Action Games of our time, before the action game formula changes once again.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Castelvania: Lords of Shadow has some issues, but overall it belongs on our list of the 10 Best 3D Action Games. It tells a heart wrenching story of a moral man twisted by forces beyond his control to do the dirty work of nigh omnipotent being. This one man’s fall is the sole reason why Dracula and the Belmont family exist. The fact that the story is told through the exquisite voice acting work of Patrick Stewart and Robert Carlyle only sweetens the deal.
Some 3D action games try to tell a story. Not Dynasty Warriors! In fact, Dynasty Warriors and its entire franchise basically exists to corrupt the entire timeless epic of “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” into, “see how many powerless peons you can kill at once!” It sure it fun though, so we aren’t complaining.
For a less wacky look at Asian mythology, look no further than Okami. Sure, it’s a bit more of an adventure game, than an action game, as it has one large continuous world instead of multiple levels filled with hordes of enemies to beat. But the combat in Okami is outstanding! Taking control of a sun god in wolf form wielding magical disks, gigantic swords, and strings of projectile firing beads is just too much fun.
Also a game that breaks from the action mold, many would call Prince of Persia a “3D Platformer” before they would call it a “3D Action Game.” But that only applies to the first 3D game in the series. Its sequel, Warrior Within, is actually named after the updates they made to the game’s combat system. Also, who doesn’t like defeating their enemies with time powers?
Any 3D Legend of Zelda Title
OK, this is the last title on this list that is a little cheaty. We swear! The Zelda series could also be considered an adventure game instead of an action game. In fact, it pretty much defined the open world adventure genre. However, more recent day titles like Skyward Sword have put a greater focus on the combat, what with the release of the Wii Motion + and all. Now we just have to wait and see if the same holds true for whatever Zelda title comes out on the Wii U.
Now, Asura’s Wrath can’t be described as anything other than a Great 3D Action Game. Heck, it even took levels out of the equation. It was just anime style cutscenes followed by action sequences where you killed weak enemies and bosses with your righteous fury. Asura’s Wrath was a game where you got so angry that you grew more arms to punch more things! No wonder it's on our 10 Best 3D Action Games list.
When Ninja Gaiden went 3D, it became one of the most difficult action games to exist… period. Long sought after for the type of people who want to see the game over screen every five seconds, Ninja Gaiden and its entire franchise is all about directly punishing its players with enemies that can insta kill you, hit you in the back, keep you in a stun lock, and even avoid or simply weather any of the many strikes needed to kill them… yet everyone likes it for some reason!
Oh, Bayonetta, the sexy librarian witch with a suit made of living hair. Bayonetta defined action games of this generation, as it was one of the only new action IPs to come out on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Funny enough, Bayonetta won’t actually be coming out on Sony or Microsoft consoles at all next generation, instead becoming a Wii U exclusive.
Devil May Cry may have started the entire 3D action craze. Originally planned to be a sequel to Resident Evil, higher-ups at Capcom thought that a badass in a red trenchcoat stabbing demons just didn’t fit the survival horror tone of their zombie franchise. Instead, they gave Dante his own series, and let him stab all the demons he wanted. The rest is history.
Finally, we have the king of great 3D action games, God of War. Kratos has essentially become the 3D action mascot at this point. Heck, most every other action game simply follows the God of War formula, what with quick time events, gory executions, and a combination of long wide reaching weak attacks and linear heavy attacks in the gameplay system. Now, Kratos is dead and it seems like his whole story has been told. Will we see a new God of War game on next generation consoles, or has the Ghost of Sparta seen his last battle? Either way, Kratos fought his way to the top of our 10 Best 3D Action Games list.
next: 25 best 2d platformers